Painting Murals Against the Law or, What is a Structure?
(Vyto Starinskas/Rutland Herald, via Associated Press)
The NY Times ran an interesting story today regarding a Vermont billboard law which made illegal the exhibition of “hand-painted signs that urge drivers to visit a designated downtown….” Interestingly, what’s at stake in Bellows Falls is not a billboard as we know it but rather a mural painted on the side of a barn. “I told the group when they hired me that you can’t do this because it’s against the law,” said Frank Hawkins, who painted the mural. “As a sign painter, it’s unequivocally a sign to me.” In response to this seemingly absurd law Vermont legislature just passed a measure which exempts murals such as this one.
“The legislation says the exempt signs must be hand-painted on a structure that has been standing for at least 25 years. They must direct people to a designated downtown no more than three miles away.”
“Just because a sign is pretty doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something Vermonters want on the side of their highways,” said John Zicconi, spokesman for the Vermont Agency of Transportation.